I am already on record for absolutely loving Rick Yancey’s The 5th Wave. I tore through this book—which details in disturbingly frank and too-realistic-feeling how an alien invasion affects Cassie, our 16-year-old heroine—and even while I was ripping through pages I found myself wondering who I would cast in the movie. This is either an occupational hazard of being an Entertainment Weekly writer or it’s due to the fact that this book is so vivid I knew it’d only be a matter of time before it made its way to the big screen.
And sure enough, according to The Hollywood Reporter, Susannah Grant has been hired to adapt Yancey’s book. This is exciting because Grant is a very talented screenwriter—she was nominated for her screenplay for Erin Brockovich—and because I think she is the perfect person who can tap into Cassie’s strengths and vulnerabilities and humor. So that’s one piece of the puzzle! But now, onto the casting.
Cassie Sullivan: Pretty much from its opening pages, I saw no one but Elle Fanning as Cassie. Is this because Cassie is described as being small and young-looking and blonde? Maybe. But I also have long been a fan of Fanning’s watchful, melancholy gaze in movies like Somewhere and Super 8. Since she was a young child actress she’s always seemed somewhat preternaturally older than her age, which is a quality I would think help to play Cassie, who believes she might be the last human alive on earth. I cannot lie, I’m pretty committed to this idea. Dear Hollywood, please cast Elle!
But okay. That might not happen. So for my backup choices I think I’ll go with Mad Men’s Kiernan Shipka or Maisie Williams from Game of Thrones. Both of these actresses have proven their chops on a weekly basis, bringing the emotional and steely inner toughness. And of course there’s no rule that says book Cassie has to physically resemble movie Cassie. If filmmakers want to move away from fair-skinned pixie girls, I’d be delighted to see Amandla Stenberg—so wonderful as Rue in The Hunger Games—or Katie Chang from The Bling Ring, who full on blew me away with her performance.
Evan Walker: Evan, oh Evan. This hunky, mysterious stranger who takes Cassie in when she’s injured and cares for her has to strike just the right balance between strong and sweet and maybe alien invader. Tricky! I can’t help to look to Divergent for casting ideas since there is a plethora of talented young fellas in that group: I’m thinking specifically of Christian Madsen or Ben Lamb. Or maybe we’ll forget all about The Host for a little bit and give Max Irons another shot at a YA franchise?
Ben Parish: Cassie’s not-so-secret high school crush has a fairly big role in this. What I really wish is that we could get Taylor Kitsch to age down about a decade so he could play this part. But instead I think we should go with Miles Teller who is pretty fantastic in this weekend’s The Spectacular Now. Another Miles I like? Miles Heizer, who plays Drew in NBC’s Parenthood.
There are still other roles to think of—like Cassie’s dad and little brother, Sammy, and the pretty loathsome Commander Vosch—but those might be easier to fill once the main leads are in place.
But I’m curious what other people think. Who do you think should be the stars of The 5th Wave? Sound off below!